>> hello and welcome. i'm phil torres here to talk about innovations that can change lives. hardware and humanity and we're doing it in a unique way. a show of science by scientists. dr. shini somara shini somara is a mechanical engineer. as scientists test new building tines can they survive the most powerful twisters on the planets? kosta grammatis, feeding a hungry planet. he's touring the farm going inside one of america's busiest airports.
and i'm phil torres, i'm an entomologist. i study spiders in the rain forest of peru. that's our program, let's do some science. ♪ ♪ are hey guys welcome to "techknow". i'm phil torres and here with kosta and shini. here in the u.s. when you think about tornado alley, you think of oklahoma. you recently went there. >> very high frequency of tornadoes, 50 on average. we went to moore, oklahoma, it was devastated by tornadoes on may 20th. we went to
university technologists, let's take a look. >> west side of burton we have a major tornado coming down. >> may 20th, 2013, one of the worst tornadoes on record is captured on a time lapse video that went viral. >> people in west moore must be underground for this tornado. we have large large chunks of debris. >> the entire nation watched, as the tornado took a direct hit on the hig elementary. in moore. >> from the looks of the school i knew it wasn't looking good. >> winged recorded at over -- winds recorded at over 210 miles per hour. turning the ground into a pile of rubble.
>> it needs to be a priority. you need to have a shelter. >> 300 miles from moore in texas tech university lab, they work to make it a reality. >> what we have here is an air cannon called boomer . virtual potato bottomer on steroids. >> pictures i've seen of the damage after a tornado is all about impacts. >> where wind really becomes an issue is that the debris opens up the building envelope, the walls, the roof. once you have that envelope opened, now you have got double the trouble. the most predominant projectile that we see in these storms is
normally something like a two by four. >> what you tend to see coming out of this cannon is what you tend to see flying around. when a tornado is spinning? >> absolutely. we did shelter research for the national science foundation back in may, after the moore tornado. specifically, just to look for shelters in the storm path. >> the question now is not whether to rebuild, but how. >> we're smart engineers. we know how to design for wind speeds. and now, we know how to design for impact resistance. >> research is performed tests on a variety of building materials. some of them failed. through trial and error, invocation came from the reinforcement engineering. >> should we load the cannon? >> load the can upon. okay, let's do it.
wow! >> 103 miles an hour. >> 103! it's completely fine. >> this particular wall is what we call a double-wide brick. in other words, you've got one wall of brick here, and another wall of brick here. and then, there's a four-inch cavity that's full of reinforced steel. >> but this shows that you can have a safe place above ground. >> the beautiful thing about an above-ground shelter is it's a dual use space. >> is that what you would advise >> absolutely. >> in the heart of tornado alley in oklahoma city, oakdale elementary was hit twice. >> in 2003 that school was completely destroyed. >> they took the engineers at
texas tech and built a gym that doubles as a safe room. >> when you have students in an age group 4 to 14, we knew we needed to build a gym. we knew maybe we could do something to address those safety concerns. we tawld the architect -- we called the architect and said this is your job. and they did. >> to tell us what kind of construction will withstand those project isles. >> jeff and john design oa oakdale's safe room. >> the pressure of 250 mile-per-hour wind or an efi tornado. >> these walls were really thick. thickened to become a safe room. 12 inches thick. >> another important thing in the safe room is the connections. where the wall and the room
intersect, you don't want that coming apart and the roof comes off and then the wall can fail and all these kind of terrible things can happen. >> is that where the innovation lies? >> the two forces pulling the walls apart and the projectiles coming through the walls. >> he said i wanted something safe where it wouldn't be coming in on these kids. >> how do you feel? >> like we have a safer place to come than we did before. and in those times when we may have to have a safer place to bring our students, we have it. >> and that's the hope for schools like oakdale and plaza towers that by using innovative building techniques, they can keep their children and community safe. >> what i can't believe is that 60% of the schools in oklahoma don't have a shelter for tornadoes.
>> yeah, it's insane considering how frequently they're hit. above ground shelter seems to be the way forward. because being inside a bunker was not pleasant at all. >> i grew up in colorado where we would get tornadoes and they would have us basically get low. in movies, people get below ground but now they're saying it's not the safest way to do it. >> before i actually shot this film i thought blows-ground shelters were perfectly adequate. but i realize, going inside one it doesn't feel comfortable. and above ground shelters, i saw the technology itself. >> and shini, you got to feel it. >> i got to be in the world's largest tornado lab. i got to see this tornado being created within a space. it was absolutely beautiful. >> all right, great.
we will check this out next. we want to hear what you think about these stories. >> start with one issue ad guests on all sides of the debate. and a host willing to ask the tough questions and you'll get... the inside story ray suarez hosts inside story weekdays at 5pm et / 2pm pt only on al jazeera america
>> coming down right now major tornado. coming down another tornado. deadly tornado rushes to the u.s. community of oklahoma city. two mile wide tornado ripped through the state capitol on monday. >> that was the tragedy on the ground but new innovations are being developed in the lab to protect against future disasters. >> we create tornado like vor vortexes. >> i'm at the university where they can actually create tornadoes. >> darryl gains designed and built the tornado simulator. >> a tornado simulator allows us to understand what happens to
structures. >> tornadoes are rated on an ef scale which is an indicator of the severity of the storm based on wind speed and debris impact. >> so this was designed to do mid ef 3, about 150 miles per hour or less. >> did you ever sit in the vortex? >> oh, absolutely, all the time. would you like to go? >> this is the time i've been waiting for. >> turn it on slow and then -- >> build it up? >> build it up. >> are you going to leave me here on my own? >> you're good. >> at this point i was wondering just how powerful an ef 3 would be. wow! whoa!
now i can just about imagine how terrifying a tornado can be. through your research you're hoping to be able to recommend how to reinforce building codes. >> that's correct. what we really want to do is be able to recommend building codes and practices that people should consider when building in areas that are prone to tornadoes. >> as soon as there's a connection between a rotation in the storm and some vortex touching the ground then it officially becomes a tornado. >> at the national weather center scientists like jerry brodske works with atmosphere. >> how do you collect that? >> we collection collection -- we collect observations from surfacing radar. something that can be deployed over a much larger area.
here is your radar, and the beam sort of goes out but the earth curves underneath that beam. the further you are from that radar the less coverage you have. what the casa radar does is fill in these gaps. that's the ski to improving our analysis which in turn improves the forecasting. >> with the old star doppler radar -- old style doppler radar how much time would you have? >> if you are a weather forecaster waiting for updating, you wait about five minutes. with the casa radar, it provides information every 60 seconds. >> it is heading right into west moore right now. >> information used by casa and the national weather service
helped meteorologists at kfar in oklahoma at the tornado hit moore on may 20th. >> on i-54, big debris ball, the debris ball is over a mile wide. >> advances in storm prediction technology continues to improve. >> if you are in a firsting home or hospital or school, you would like to have as much lead time as possible. >> as advanced as weather prediction is becoming, nothing takes place of design innovations which ensures that buildings remain standing even in the most severe tornadoes. >> we heard it was on the ground, looked like it was going to be a bad one. >> jimmy fleming, public information officer for moore public schools. >> being on the cutting edge of technology that lets us predict the storms.
>> in the reconstruction of the plaza towers, how much innovation is being implemented to ensure safety? >> the main thing is the actual storm shelter itself. these particularly storm shelter walls itself, reinforced in through the ceiling, if a tornado were to hit the building the shelter's going to stand. >> do you think this is going to save lives? >> i hope we never find out. >> mickey davis is the mother of kyle davis, one of the seven children who lost their lives at plaza towers. >> it was just something i've never experienced. we got around to the school, and it was very hard to look at the school that day. because i had just taken -- i had just taken him to school. and the school didn't look like
what it did when it i dropped him off, on friday. there were search families searching for kids. i didn't find out until the next morning. it was 18 hours later. >> so mickey, it's very soon raf may -- soon after may 20th. what do i want to do next? >> i want a shelter in every school. my goal is to protect every child in oklahoma. not just moore. >> do you think you will achieve shelters in schools? >> some days, you know, are harder to get up and fight for it. but kyle would want that. we need shelters in every oklahoma school. >> kyle would want me to get up and fight. and do all that i possibly can, so that kids are protected in the future. ing the. >> we can't
prevent tornadoes hit the ground. but we can protect against their impact. in a town like moore the technology combined with the resilresilience of the communitl help them rebuild. >> wow, so i mean obviously the technology is always very incredible to hear about but when you put a face to it you really feel the impact of it. >> it's hard to meet mickey. she lost a son and it just seemed so unnecessary, particularly after seeing how effective the technology can be, you know. >> is anyone pushing to convert schools into safer places? >> well, mickey's definitely pushing. that's her job. she really wants to make sure that shelters are put in schools. considering 60% of schools don't have shelters that have the
capacity to be shelters, is shocking. these are schools in tornado alley. >> really fascinating piece. kosta, what do you have for us coming up next? right? there is technology that lets you have a farm vertically in your there's more to finical news than the ups and downs of the dow. for instance, could striking workers in greece delay your retirement? i'm here to make the connections to your money real. al jazeera america. we open up your world. >> here on america tonight, an opportunity for all of america to be heard. >> our shows explore the issues that shape our lives. >> new questions are raised about the american intervention. >> from unexpected viewpoints to live changing innovations,
♪ ♪ ♪ >> hey guys welcome back to "techknow". i'm phil torres and i'm here with kosta and shini. now kosta, you recently went to a very interesting farm in the middle of an airport. >> yes, something called tower garden. check it out. this is going to allow a lot of people a different life, to grow produce anywhere. let's take a deeper look. ♪ ♪ >> for over 8,000 years, we've been plowing dirt to grow our food. in fact, we've go gotten so goot it that over 80% of the world's farmable land is already in use. by 2050 we can expect another 3 billion people on planet earth to join us for dinner. another china and india.
on average, food travels 1500 miles from farm to table. how can we continue to grow food to feed the hungry masses? one answer is strert cal farming farming. smerl, california known for its eclectic shops and restaurants has another new feature, a vertical farm. >> i'm alex thomson , montecito farms. >> seedlings to harvested vegetables. his farm produces are fresh vegetables to seven restaurants every day. >> this is a tower garden. can you tell us how it works? >> it is a vertical aeroponic garden. the water is is essentially misting and raining down through the center column and getting all the root systems. it would be easier if i show you.
how about if i pull this out. look at how healthy and strong these root systems are. and the water every 15 minutes is just washing over these roots. >> is it ready to be harvested? >> yeah, this is ready to be either fully harvested for a restaurant or you could start harvesting it and eating it. >> delicious. >> we have one restaurant here that's garden to mouth in 50 feet. >> i want to check this out. >> we are here in cafe luna. what do you buy? >> why buy kale, arugula, chives. >> what are your customers sayings? >> they say that things really pop, they taste fabulous. >> tell me how it works. how do you do that? >> we're going to start with th
almond milk, tear off some kale, an entire banana, protein powder. that is health in a glass. >> delicious. ♪ >> i just landed here in o'hare international airport and i'm starving. there is a resume that there's a vertical garden that serves 10,000 people every year. let's go find it. it's like a secret garden in the middle of an airport. totally amazing. how many towers do we have here? >> we have 26 towers in this garden and each tower last 24 plangts. we d owners plants. we have lots and lots of herbs, basil and cilantro. >> we just picked some produce and now we are going to go wicker park and make some sushi.
>> i'm kosta grammatis. >> nice to meet you. >> i just picked some stuff upstairs, can we do it? >> absolutely. >> this role is produced with some of the chiefs and lettuces that we harvested from the garden earlier. >> like it? >> so fresh, so good. >> go ahead and help yourself. i know you're hungry. >> i'm going oeat it all. >> can tower gardens, so new, it's hard to see what impact it can have. but here hat this preschool, kids have been eating from the tower gardens for the last few months. >> i like to eat eat kale from our garden. >> first to have a commercial tower garden farm. >> do you know what these are? >> tower gardens. >> i want to know what everyone's favorite vegetable
is? >> lettuce. >> carrots. >> tomatoes. >> yours is tomatoes. gracie, what do you want to pick? >> arugula. >> let's pick some right here. >> one day we're at the supermark. one day she grabbed a sugar pea and started eating it and i thought wow, i can't believe she's doing this. >> did you eet snap peas off our tower garden? >> no. >> you ate the peas off the tower garden? >> no, we ate them all. >> they'll help them pull it off and they go wash it, and i say go, there's a piece of kale sticking out of their mouth. >> arugula! >> eating the aphids. >> what do you think the impact would be if every school would have one of
these? >> kids would learn the value of eating healthy. >> really interesting stuff. so kosta, what is the innovation here? >> my dad tells me stories, he grew up on a farm. he tells me stories about how they would go out and pick the produce and the whole house would personnel like tomatoes or whatever they got. now we go to the store and it doesn't smell like anything,. >> it smells like the grocery store. >> it smells like the grocery store. brings up why images of growing things and eating it right away. >> it sounds favc. >> dive deep into these stories , aljazeera.com/technicalknow.
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